Barry Smith will scratch an 11-year itch tonight when he’s one of a list of star guests who turn out for Dundee in former team-mate Dave Mackay’s St Johnstone testimonial.
Although he was registered as a player when he became manager during the “Deefiant” 2010/11 campaign at Dens, Barry’s last appearance in a dark blue shirt actually came five years earlier as over a decade as a Dee stalwart came to an end in a 3-1 First Division win at Queen of the South.
And the current Raith Rovers boss admits he has two very good reasons to be looking forward to turning out for the club where he enjoys legendary status.
“It’s been a long time since I played for Dundee, longer than I can remember to be honest, so it will be nice to get a wee bit of time on the park tonight,” said Barry.
“Most of all it’s great to get the chance to be a small part of “Cup-tie’s” big night. Not many players get testimonials these days but, if anyone deserves one, it’s him.
“And not just for the great service he gave to St Johnstone but to the game as a whole because he’s a player who gave his all for every team he played for.”
Dundee were, of course, Mackay’s first club and he and Barry were team-mates in the side that reached the Scottish Cup Final in 2003.
Had it not been for the financial collapse at Dens later that year which, ultimately, led to Mackay being forced to move on, Barry believes tonight’s game might just have been taking place at Dens with the man of the moment in a Dundee shirt.
“It was just one of those unfortunate things that happen in football but Cup-tie was happy at Dundee and had established himself as a regular in the team,” Barry added.
“I should say part of the credit for that goes to Ray Farningham. As a kid, there was a decision to be made on Cup-tie, but Jinky saw something in him and pushed for him to get a contract.
“It was a great spot because the best compliment I can give him is, from the minute he broke into the team, he was a player all his team-mates wanted in the side and it’s been the same throughout his career.
“He was one of that rare breed who would play through any injury if he could and, for me, he’s was a very under-rated player.”
Amongst the Dundee team to play alongside Barry against St Johnstone tonight include Charlie Adam, Neil McCann, Gary Harkins and Rab Douglas.